Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack recently celebrated 13 graduates from its Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Training Program with a commencement ceremony.
Each graduate wore hand-decorated commencement caps with traditional maroon scrubs for the ceremony, which began with words of wisdom from Gurwin leadership, including Stuart B. Almer, President & CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System. The graduating class then paraded through the Gurwin hallways, to cheering staff and residents showing their support.
“The need for CNAs has never been greater, especially in long-term care. Our training program enables Gurwin to grow our staff from within, ensuring they are well-trained and ready to join our clinical team,” said Almer. “We couldn’t be prouder of our graduating class – truly all the graduates of the CNA training to date – and we look forward to seeing their success as full-time CNAs.”
The CNA Training Program at Gurwin was created in late 2021 to combat the shortage of CNAs in long-term care. The program, approved by the NYS Department of Health, enables current employees in various non-clinical roles – including housekeeping, security, home care and resident care associate – to “earn while they learn” the Gurwin gold standard of clinical care in a supportive, hands-on environment at the 460-bed nursing and rehabilitation center in Commack. In addition, community members not currently employed at Gurwin are able to submit an application for the program, which is completely free to those enrolled. The program provides trainees with the promise of full-time employment at the Gurwin Center or its affiliate, Island Nursing and Rehab Center in Holtsville, NY, upon successful completion of the NYS certification exam, which they are able to take on-site.
Of the more than 80 graduates of the CNA Program to date, more than 50 have joined the Gurwin Healthcare System team as full-time CNAs or are pending test results prior to being hired into that role.
Within the graduating class was Jason Hernandez, a former Gurwin security guard who was interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare field and was inspired to begin through Gurwin’s CNA Training Program. He is now on track to fulfil his goal of becoming a Registered Nurse.
“Being a part of the CNA training program at Gurwin has been very rewarding. It feels amazing to help people,” said Hernandez. “I am so grateful to have been a security guard here because it helped me get my foot in the door and start the career that I have always wanted.”